Bodie State Historic Park is a gold rush ghost town in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It is a National Historic Landmark.
Bodie is usually closed at night. However, they have occasional days when they stay open late. The park rangers live there year around, so there is no sneaking in at night.
Catch a Rising Star
August 31, 2019 was one of those nights and I decided to try a Milky Way shot. I had been to Bodie before so I knew it would have an unobstructed view of the sky. I just had to get lucky with a cloud-free sky.
I got there in late afternoon to scout out a good piece of foreground interest. I initially thought one of the old buildings would be interesting, but I had seen many of those on social media already.
I found this great big flywheel right by the parking lot. I thought this would be cool and unusual. I was concerned about auto headlights because of the parking lot, but I got lucky and everyone was turning their lights off right after parking.
Photography involves a lot of planning and a lot of luck. I got super lucky and caught a shooting star.
Before the Milky Way Shot
After scoping out of the flywheel, I spent my time getting some other shots.
I thought this old Dodge Graham truck would be an interesting shot as a black and white. One of my photographic goals is to always show the context of a subject. I kept the structures and the gas pumps in the image and keeping them grey allowed the dark truck to stand out.
The sagging Dolan House had quite a lot of character where everything is beginning to bend. The sky was really boring, though. A clear sky is great for Milky Way shots, but it makes a boring background for anything else. I put on a red filter to darken it up. Red takes the blue color and makes it black which adds to the mood.
Bodie at Night
After the Milky Way shot, there were a few minutes to get some shots before the park closed.
Funky Town is a long exposure shot of people walking with their flashlights down the main road. It captured some really interesting artifacts.
I wanted to get at least one structure with a light in front. The Museum building fit the bill. The chairs on the left looks like the photograph is warped. But, looking at the line of the clapboards shows that the porch is slanted.